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Theory and Practice of Counselling

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Theory and Practice of Counseling - PSY632
VU
Lesson 11
COUNSELING SKILLS
The counseling relationship is defined as the quality and strength of the human connection that counselors
and clients share. Listening and showing understanding skills are central to building quality relationships
with clients. All counseling relationships consist of two relationships: the counselor's relationship with the
client and the client's relationship with the counselor.
All systems of counseling / therapy employ various patterns of skills, known as microskills.
Microskills are observable actions of counselors & therapists that appear to effect positive change
in the session in which active listening involves both receiver and sender.
Complex interaction is broken down into manageable & learnable dimensions. Once you learn
these skills they can be fitted in a wide variety of theoretical orientation. When you learn new
methods of therapy, you can build them on these skills and frame them into a variety of techniques.
Microskills
Different microskills are described in the following:
Attending skills
Listening skills: "Basic listening sequence"
Focus and selective attention
Influencing skills
Confrontation & challenging
Attending skills
Attending skills is a simple phrase for a complex collection of behaviors and abilities.
Attending skills are comprised of a series of complex proficiencies that cut across the verbal and
nonverbal domains of communication. It is rare that people receive the full attention of their
communication partner(s). When it does happen, they are keenly aware and appreciative of this
fact. It is rare that people place full attention on themselves; hence, it is not surprising that most
clients, and perhaps too many clinicians, are unaware of, or inattentive to, their own Meta
communications. Clients are frequently unaware of communications that go beyond the verbal, and
clinicians may forget to attend to these nonverbals.
Attending refers to the focused attention that is placed on the other person in an interchange
between two (or more) people.
Without attending skills, the establishment of therapeutic rapport is most likely difficult,
if not impossible.
Attending skills: Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal communication is important from two perspectives:
 Nonverbal communication expressed by the client and picked up by the clinician.
 Nonverbal communication used by the clinician for therapeutic goals.
Attending nonverbal communication is an excellent means of gaining a clearer understanding of clients as it.
It opens up a major area of meta-communication:
 Body language & movement
 Paralinguistic
 Physical space
 Timing
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Theory and Practice of Counseling - PSY632
VU
Body Language & Movement
 Kinesics can emerge from any body part. Some of the most important body features observed
involve head, face, eyes, mouth, shoulders, arms, hands, legs, feet, and torso.
 Motor movement observations about all body parts are important as they can provide a great deal
of information.
 Motor movement overall is often further defined as agitated, fidgety, unusual, normal, or as
including tics, tremors, or motor abnormalities.
 Autonomic responses are also often included, drawing attention to physiological reactions such as
rate of breathing, blushing versus paling, or pupil dilation.
 All motor and facial expressions can be assessed in terms of their congruence with verbal content
of conversation as well as the level of activity or agitation they may suggest.
Table 1
Sample of Possible Interpretations of Common Kinesics: Eyes
Nonverbal Expression
Possible Meaning
Direct eye contact
Attentiveness
Lack of contact
Withdrawal
Looking down/ away
Avoidance, preoccupation
Fixed staring
Uptightness, psychosis
Eye blinking
Anxiety, excitement
Squinting or wrinkled brow
Annoyance, concern, thoughtfulness
Dilated pupils
Alarm, interest
Kinesics derives additional importance from the reality that they are commonly used as substitutes to verbal
communication. In other words, quite frequently clients use their body to respond to a clinician's question.
Table 2
Sample of Possible Interpretations of Common Kinesics: Mouth
Nonverbal Expression
Possible Meaning
Smiling
Greeting, Positive mood, denial
Tight lips
Stress, Anger/ hostility, Concentration
Quivering lips
Sadness, Anger, Anxiety
Biting/ Chewing of
Anxiety, Bad habit
lips
Surprise, Boredom/ fatigue/ yawning
Open mouth
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Theory and Practice of Counseling - PSY632
VU
Table 3
Sample of Possible Interpretations of Common Kinesics: Facial Expressions
Nonverbal Expression
Possible Meaning
Flushed face
Embarrassment, Anxiety
Eyes open wide
Surprise, Sudden insight
& mouth opening
Furrowed brow with
Deep thought/ concentration
tight mouth
Irritation/ annoyance, Rejection of
a therapist response
Table 4
Sample of Possible Interpretations of Common Kinesics: Shoulders and Arms
Nonverbal Expression
Possible Meaning
Shrugging shoulders
Uncertainty or ambivalence,
indifference
Slouched shoulders
Sadness, withdrawal/ shyness
Bad posture, Self-protection
Folded arms
Closed to contact, emotional distance
Open gesturing
Openness to disclosure
Stiff and/or unmoving
Anger, Anxiety
Table 5
Sample of Possible Interpretations of Common Kinesics: Legs and Feet
Nonverbal Expression
Possible Meaning
Crossing & uncrossing
Anxiety/ nervousness, Depression
Self-protection
Foot tapping
Anxiety, Impatience
Stiff and/or Controlled
movements
Closed to contact, Repressed
attitude, Sore muscles
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Theory and Practice of Counseling - PSY632
VU
Table 6
Sample of Possible Interpretations of Common Kinesics: Body Movement
Nonverbal Expression
Possible Meaning
Leaning forward
Attentiveness, interest
Leaning away or back
Withdrawal, Rejection
Relaxation or comfort
Turned to the side
Avoidance, Fear of rejection
Rocking or repetitive motion
Anxiety, nervousness,
Bad habit, Developmental disorder
Habitual movement (e.g.,
Focused attention,
tapping, hair twirling)
Impatience, Bad habit
Paralinguistics
The therapist attends to how high or low the client's volume is when speaking of various contents, and
whether volume or inflection changes depending on topic. Very high volume may relate to anger, whereas
very low volume may indicate sadness.
Nonverbal or metacommnnication aspects related to voice and speech have great communication value. A
high-pitched voice may suggest anxiety; changes in inflection may direct attention to particularly emotional
topics.
Counselors direct their attention to several aspects of speech, including voice volume, articulation, pitch,
emphasis, and rate (VAPER). Speech fluency is explored with regard to the intrusion of stuttering or similar
speech errors, as well as jerky speech that changes in clarity and fluency across topics. For example, sudden
hesitations in speech may indicate anxiety about a topic or second thoughts about self-disclosure. Speech
errors, such as wrong word choice or inability to think of the right word, may suggest anxiety or resistance.
Rate of speech refers to the speed with which the client communicates. It could theoretically be evaluated
by looking at the number of words spoken per minute. Most concretely, rate ranges from slow to fast.
Slower speech rate helps you appear less nervous, and also provides more time to think of what to say.
Effect of Gender and Culture
Rate of speech varies greatly across cultural groups.
Use of Pauses and Silence
 Use of pauses and silence enhances your capacity to be a rewarding listener.
 The counselor can pause each time they stop speaking before responding to see if they wish to
continue;
 Good use of silence also gives clients more psychological space to think things through before
speaking. Some counselors and clients find silence threatening; they have to work on tendencies to
interrupt too soon.
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Theory and Practice of Counseling - PSY632
VU
Skill Development Activity 1
 From now on, while engaging in conversations with others begin to focus on their nonverbal
expressions of emotions.
 'Note facial features, body posture, gestures, and other bodily cues about the person you are
interacting.
 Do not allow the verbal content to get in the way of your nonverbal listening.
 Pay careful attention to body language, even if it appears inconsistent with what is being said.
 Begin to notice if different people have different ways of expressing the same message.
Skill Development Activity 2
 From now on, when you are in a public place with extra time on your hands, become a people
watcher.
 Without hearing their conversations, pay attention to how people express themselves.
 Try to guess what emotions they are expressing by how they hold their bodies, faces, hands, and so
forth.
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Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION:Counseling Journals, Definitions of Counseling
  2. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND COUNSELING & PSYCHOTHERAPY
  3. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 1900-1909:Frank Parson, Psychopathic Hospitals
  4. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:Recent Trends in Counseling
  5. GOALS & ACTIVITIES GOALS OF COUNSELING:Facilitating Behavior Change
  6. ETHICAL & LEGAL ISSUES IN COUNSELING:Development of Codes
  7. ETHICAL & LEGAL ISSUES IN COUNSELING:Keeping Relationships Professional
  8. EFFECTIVE COUNSELOR:Personal Characteristics Model
  9. EFFECTIVE COUNSELOR:Humanism, People Orientation, Intellectual Curiosity
  10. EFFECTIVE COUNSELOR:Cultural Bias in Theory and Practice, Stress and Burnout
  11. COUNSELING SKILLS:Microskills, Body Language & Movement, Paralinguistics
  12. COUNSELING SKILLS COUNSELORíS NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION:Use of Space
  13. COUNSELING SKILLS HINTS TO MAINTAIN CONGRUENCE:
  14. LISTENING & UNDERSTANDING SKILLS:Barriers to an Accepting Attitude
  15. LISTENING & UNDERSTANDING SKILLS:Suggestive Questions,
  16. LISTENING & UNDERSTANDING SKILLS:Tips for Paraphrasing, Summarizing Skills
  17. INFLUENCING SKILLS:Basic Listening Sequence (BLS), Interpretation/ Reframing
  18. FOCUSING & CHALLENGING SKILLS:Focused and Selective Attention, Family focus
  19. COUNSELING PROCESS:Link to the Previous Lecture
  20. COUNSELING PROCESS:The Initial Session, Counselor-initiated, Advice Giving
  21. COUNSELING PROCESS:Transference & Counter-transference
  22. THEORY IN THE PRACTICE OF COUNSELING:Timing of Termination
  23. PSYCHOANALYTIC APPROACHES TO COUNSELING:View of Human Nature
  24. CLASSICAL PSYCHOANALYTIC APPROACH:Psychic Determination, Anxiety
  25. NEO-FREUDIANS:Strengths, Weaknesses, NEO-FREUDIANS, Family Constellation
  26. NEO-FREUDIANS:Task setting, Composition of Personality, The Shadow
  27. NEO-FREUDIANS:Ten Neurotic Needs, Modes of Experiencing
  28. CLIENT-CENTERED APPROACH:Background of his approach, Techniques
  29. GESTALT THERAPY:Fritz Perls, Causes of Human Difficulties
  30. GESTALT THERAPY:Role of the Counselor, Assessment
  31. EXISTENTIAL THERAPY:Rollo May, Role of Counselor, Logotherapy
  32. COGNITIVE APPROACHES TO COUNSELING:Stress-Inoculation Therapy
  33. COGNITIVE APPROACHES TO COUNSELING:Role of the Counselor
  34. TRANSACTIONAL ANALYSIS:Eric Berne, The child ego state, Transactional Analysis
  35. BEHAVIORAL APPROACHES:Respondent Learning, Social Learning Theory
  36. BEHAVIORAL APPROACHES:Use of reinforcers, Maintenance, Extinction
  37. REALITY THERAPY:Role of the Counselor, Strengths, Limitations
  38. GROUPS IN COUNSELING:Major benefits, Traditional & Historical Groups
  39. GROUPS IN COUNSELING:Humanistic Groups, Gestalt Groups
  40. MARRIAGE & FAMILY COUNSELING:Systems Theory, Postwar changes
  41. MARRIAGE & FAMILY COUNSELING:Concepts Related to Circular Causality
  42. CAREER COUNSELING:Situational Approaches, Decision Theory
  43. COMMUNITY COUNSELING & CONSULTING:Community Counseling
  44. DIAGNOSIS & ASSESSMENT:Assessment Techniques, Observation
  45. FINAL OVERVIEW:Ethical issues, Influencing skills, Counseling Approaches